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Champagne bubbles improve flavour

Champagne’s bubbles are more than mere decoration – they contain up to 30 times more flavour than the wine itself, scientists have discovered.

A study of five Champagnes and high-quality sparkling wines revealed that the liquid in a glass of Champagne and the bubbles have very different chemical fingerprints.

Reported in the US scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research found that Champagne’s distinctive mousse acts as a kind of flavour delivery system or ‘paternoster lift’.

Report co-author Dr Gérard Liger-Belair, of the University of Reims, used ultra high-resolution mass spectrometry to pinpoint hundreds of different active compounds present in Champagne.

He discovered that many aromatic compounds were more likely to be present in the bubbles than in the wine itself.

‘By drawing a parallel between the fizz of the ocean and the fizz in Champagne wines, our results closely link bursting bubbles and flavour release,’ the report says.

‘Thus, supporting the idea that rising and collapsing bubbles act as a continuous paternoster lift for aromas in every glass of Champagne.’

The research findings support the long-held view among experts that Champagnes with a fine and persistent mousse, or stream of bubbles, are of a higher quality.

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Written by Richard Woodard

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